Himachal byelections: BJP warns rebels, fall in line else face action

After Chetan Bragta files papers as independent from Jubbal-Kotkhai, BJP state unit cautions party workers to ensure discipline
Supporters of Chetan Bragta (garlanded) taking out a rally at Gumma in Kotkhai last Thursday after he announced that he was fighting the Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly byelection as an Independent. Chetan was seen as a strong contender for the BJP ticket. The byelection was necessitated after his father, Narendra Bragta, who represented Jubbal-Kotkhai, passed away in June. (Deepak Sansta/HT)
Supporters of Chetan Bragta (garlanded) taking out a rally at Gumma in Kotkhai last Thursday after he announced that he was fighting the Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly byelection as an Independent. Chetan was seen as a strong contender for the BJP ticket. The byelection was necessitated after his father, Narendra Bragta, who represented Jubbal-Kotkhai, passed away in June. (Deepak Sansta/HT)
Updated on Oct 11, 2021 05:00 PM IST
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By HT Correspondent

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday warned rebels in the fray for the byelections to the Mandi Lok Sabha parliamentary seat and three assembly constituencies of Arki, Jubbal-Kotkhai and Fatehpur to fall in line else face action.

October 13 is the last date for the withdrawal of nomination papers for the byelections on October 30.

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State urban development minister Suresh Bhardwaj, who is also the minister in-charge of the byelections, said: “The party has taken the principled stand not to allot the ticket to the kith and kin of deceased leaders. Party national president (JP Nadda) has made this clear. The party has also decided to field women leaders who have been in electoral politics for many years.”

Bhardwaj said he was hopeful that the BJP unit would work unitedly to ensure the victory of Neelam Seraik, the party’s candidate in Jubbal-Kotkhai.

Ever since Chetan Bragta filed his nomination as an independent candidate, local leaders are divided over the party’s decision to allocate the ticket to Seraik. “The party had fielded (Chetan’s father) the late Narendra Bragta ji from Shimla after he lost from Jubbal-Kotkhai. He won the elections from Shimla and was made horticulture minister in the Prem Kumar Dhumal government. When he won again, he was inducted in the cabinet and in 2017, he was made the chief whip of the party with cabinet rank. The party gave him due respect. At times, children and kin of the leader aspire to contest elections,” Bhardwaj said. “This time, the decision has been taken by the BJP’s central leadership,” he said, hoping that Chetan would opt out.

It is learnt that state power minister Sukhram Chaudhary and Chopal legislator Balbir Verma are in touch with Chetan, who has so far refused to budge.

The party is also hopeful its leaders in Fatehpur will work for the victory of Baldev Thakur. Several office-bearers had quit after the party denied the ticket to former Rajya Sabha member Kripal Parmar.

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Monday, October 18, 2021